It must be a proud moment for German football as right now we have three German managers in the Champions League semi-final. However, one of them will be eliminated from the competition as Thomas Tuchel’s PSG face Julian Nagelsmann’s, RB Leipzig.
Though PSG are favourites for the tie, this year’s competition has shown us that the tag of a favourite has very less merit. This is a single leg tie and even the non-favourite teams have a chance to win as shown by Leipzig in their game against Atletico Madrid. The Parisians have to play against the Germans as if they were playing against a top team like Real Madrid or Barca because they were very lucky to win against Atalanta and they would not want a repeat of the same.
For Leipzig, Ibrahima Konate is the only notable absentee for Leipzig and there are no other suspensions and injuries. While club’s top scorer Timo Werner is already off to Chelsea. Julian Nagelsmann will be hopeful that Dayot Upamecano can put in another defensive masterclass as he did against Atletico Madrid where he pocketed Diego Costa. Though the opposition this time will pose a very different threat than Costa.
The Die Rotten did struggle in the game against Atletico Madrid when Joao Felix came on with his trickery and skills. Against PSG the likes of Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria can play in a similar way as well. In the attacking department, they will rely upon the likes of Nkunku, Marcel Sabitzer and Poulsen.
Paris Saint Germain
The Parisians will be without the services of Marco Verratti, Layvin Kurzawa and Keylor Navas. The Italian missed the game against Atalanta as well through injury, while Navas picked up a knock in the quarter-finals and was replaced by Sergio Rico. However Angel Di Maria’s return will be a big boost for PSG and Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Kylian Mbappe is fit to start against RB Leipzig, He said: “He played for 30 minutes against Atalanta and had no reaction. He has had six days since then to work on his fitness, so of course, he can start”.
It is also a proud moment for Tuchel as his former player Nagelsmann will face him as a manager in the semi-final of Champions League. He said, “I could not imagine that 12 years after coaching him I would be going up against him in the semi-final.”
Old friends now new foes
It was actually Thomas Tuchel who introduced Nagelsmann to coaching. The Leipzig’s head coach career as a football professional abruptly ended early due to injuries. At that time Nagelsmann was playing for the reserve team of Augsburg where Tuchel was the manager. The PSG manager knew that Nagelsmann is an intelligent player and asked him to do some scouting work which was liked by Tuchel.
Nagelsmann said: “The decision was should I annul the contract or try to find something else, I got to the chance to scout to analyse the opposition. Thomas liked what I did actually and it was one of the first steps on the way path to becoming a head coach”.
RB Leipzig vs PSG Predicted Line-Up
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg, Angelino; Laimer, Kampl; Sabitzer, Olmo, Nkunku; Poulsen
PSG: Rico; Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Di Maria, Paredes, Marquinhos, Neymar; Mbappe, Icardi